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Bevan Foundation Director, Victoria Winckler, has responded to a report by the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies’ prediction that more than 1.2 million public sector jobs will be lost by 2017/18. Commenting in the Western Mail on 6th February 2013, Victoria said:
“This IFS analysis is deeply troubling – it shows the UK economy and public finances are in a deep hole from which the climb will be long and hard. Even worse, their analysis assumes some economic recovery this year and next – yet year after year we have seen forecast growth fail to materialise.
“The outlook for ordinary people is extremely gloomy. The least well-off are forecast to be hit by further tax and benefit changes nearly as hard as the richest.
“Coming on top of several years of static wages, cuts in benefits and rising prices, with very little room for cutting household spending further, the consequences for low income families look dire. I honestly wonder how some families will cope and fear a return to levels of deprivation and hardship not seen for decades.
“Nor is there much scope for the Welsh Government to mitigate such hardship. The IFS forecast of a cut in the Welsh Government’s block grant of in 2014-15 of 1.6% will make it tough for the Government to maintain services.
“The cut might not sound much but the effect over five years is a reduction of 12.6% – at a time that demand for services, expectations and prices are rising. The fact that the percentage cut for Wales is less than the UK is no comfort at all given the level of need in Wales.
“As if this isn’t enough, the report warns that even more cuts will be needed. It raises the spectre of yet more dramatic cuts to social security benefits and suggests that the relatively immunity of pensioners from cuts could soon end.”